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January 31, 2010

Well, I guess it beats dissecting Pitt’s loss this afternoon in basketball. Sort of.

This has apparently reached “buzz worthy” status. That Pitt is heading to the Big Numerically Challenged Conference in the Midwest. It sure seems to have jumped beyond mere message board discussion. Lots of rumors. To the point where newspapers, while not directly reporting it in print, are into discussing the possible ramifications, and blogging it.

Speculation is heating up all over the Internet that Pitt has accepted an offer to join the Big Ten Conference.

Here is what popped up on Bleacherreport.com, normally a pretty reliable outlet, just a few hours ago:

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“According to several reports, including personal statements by student athletes on Twitter, Pittsburgh athletic department officials held closed door meetings with all of the University’s student athletes last week about the potential move.

Pitt message boards lit up with the news and the validity of the rumor, and though not verified by the University or the Big East or Big Ten, the rumor was somewhat reinforced when those Pitt athletes who posted about the meeting on their Twitter accounts were forced to remove the posts.”

Ahhhhhh. At the risk of sounding elitist… Oh, what the hell, Bleacherreport.com? That’s the source available?

I don’t know, that, well. Yeesh.

Eleven Warriors (tOSU blog) has doubts, and The Rivalry neatly encapsulates my thoughts on Big 11’s moves to progress.

Well first, there’s the extreme unlikelihood that the Big Ten Council of Presidents would act so quickly, little more than a month into an evaluation process tabbed to take a year to a year and a half.  Still, it is possible that COP had Pittsburgh — and its complimentary academic pedigree — in mind from the start.  With its top tier national rank (56th) and Association of American Universities affiliation, Pitt is a fair congener on paper.  Additionally, some commentators have suggested that a quick-strike could be designed to meet scheduling deadlines to get a Big Ten Championship Game in place by 2012.

Still, for a conference that has only added three members in the past century, an impulse buy is more than out of character.  Plus, it’s not clear how the addition of Pitt by itself furthers conference exposure.  (Penn State already brings Pittsburgh — the 23rd largest television audience in the United States — to the table).

The nail in the coffin of this rumor for me, is that the Big East appears totally in the dark.  The Big Ten made it more than clear when it announced plans to explore expansion that it would contact a prospective target’s conference before approaching an individual school.  Evan if the Big East is playing it cool, it seems far fetched that the Big Ten would have had the time to work through what OSU President Gordon Gee calls a “quiet kabuki dance” with a number of suitors at the gate.

A friend of mine totally gung-ho over the possibility disagrees and posits this:

I’ve always thought that the 12-18 month timeframe for a study was just a smoke screen to begin with, to give the impression that this was not as desperate of a grab as what the ACC did. My thinking is that the Big Ten likely had preliminary discussions already begun with the target school before they went public with expansion. Anything else would have been risking national humiliation.

I’m skeptical of this since the Big 11 made a show of how they would do things above the board and did not want to be perceived as staging a stealth raid like the ACC. Maybe that’s silly, but the Big 11 loves being seen as a blue-blood-like conference. Dignified and steeped in tradition.

I won’t prentend I haven’t heard some rumors, and gotten e-mails asking what I know.

Frankly, I really don’t know anything. I don’t claim sources, and I doubt the people I do know would know — or tell me.

The alleged announce date is supposed to be Friday — after NLI day for college football. I guess we’ll all learn something or nothing then.





solution: Big 10 can raid the BE all they want for football. Pitt, Cuse, and RU all go play FB in the Big 10. Football is the money maker and reason for this in the first place. The remaining teams split up to various leagues. The BE stays in tact for all other sports. The Providence commish should be happy because all they care about is hoops anyways. This way there is nothing ruining the great hoops league, all school now become “basketball only”, and the Big Ten gets its much desired championship game. Great for the BE but not sure the Big 10 would be interested in a deal like this.

Comment by OntarioLett'sGoPitt 01.31.10 @ 8:49 pm

I remain skeptical until I hear something that originates from the midwest or northeast intead of just referring back to the Pitt blogs.

Comment by wbb 01.31.10 @ 8:59 pm

Meh, I still don’t believe it.

But, if it were to happen, at least we’d be spared having to get beat down by basketball powerhouses like USF from now on!

Comment by Jimbo Covert's my Dad 01.31.10 @ 10:07 pm

Big 10 is not expanding by adding a school only for football. These rumors excite me. A lot.

Comment by Todd Gack 01.31.10 @ 10:32 pm

As a bleacherreport.com writer I can tell you firsthand that you can not consider it a reliable source. Its a place for fans to speculate with little regard for standard journalistic practices.

I love that site and there are some great columnists there, but no great journalists.

Comment by pablo 01.31.10 @ 10:33 pm

Living in the mid-west my comment is simply,”Here we go again, the Big Eleven blinks and the blogging brigade bows”. Hopefully, the former Steel City university would not betray its Big East friends for the sake of a Big Eleven championship game or the pursuit of the lofty revenues of the self-proclaimed elitist schools in the nation’s mid-section. May the Pittsburgh institute of higher learning continue its athletic endeavours with the conference of the present and the future and spurn any offer from the big money interests from what used to be the number one league< but which now has deteriorated into a one dimensional focus: outdraw the ACC. George from Columbus

Comment by rev. george mehaffey 01.31.10 @ 10:34 pm

good move for football…bad move for basketball…but a chance to get killed on a yearly basis by the like of Ohio state Michigan and Penn State for extra revenue, priceless…BigTen Basketball is the worst…I cant stand it and this coming from a Ohio State football fan for the past 15 years

Comment by jason 01.31.10 @ 10:42 pm

Pitt Associate Athletic Director EJ Borghetti (via Twitter):

Now hear this: rumors on Internet message boards should be read for amusement purposes only, and not consumed as responsible journalism.

link to twitter.com

So take that for what it is worth

Comment by Bryan 01.31.10 @ 10:48 pm

“Now hear this: rumors on Internet message boards should be read for amusement purposes only, and not consumed as responsible journalism.”

EJ Borghetti
Associate Athletic Director/Media Relations for the Pitt Panthers
link to twitter.com

Comment by Dave in Orlando 01.31.10 @ 10:49 pm

Damn you Bryan!

Comment by Dave in Orlando 01.31.10 @ 10:49 pm

I heard from a source about 10 days ago that Pitt’s Board of Trustess voted to join the Big Ten. My thoughts were that this was a false rumor but now it seems where there is smoke that there is fire. It’s laughable that Pitt thought it could tell it’s atheletes and think that there wouldn’t be a leak.

Comment by Jeff in CPa 01.31.10 @ 10:50 pm

Ha! Never doubt my semi-obsessive checking of Twitter, Dave! :-)

Comment by Bryan 01.31.10 @ 10:52 pm

Now I am going to act like the media when a coach says he is not interested in another opening … note EJ did not specifically address the B10 expansion on his twitter but just made a generalization of internet messages.

Nonetheless, as I previosly posted, until I see something more substabtive than Pitt message boards is when I’ll really start to believe.

Comment by wbb 02.01.10 @ 7:58 am

Why doesnt the big east just split leagues’ and invite east carolina and central florida?

Comment by POLE 02.01.10 @ 9:28 am

wbb – I had the same thought, particularly since EJ is usually pretty careful with his words. Still, I find this rumor very hard to believe at this point. I suspect that there may have been some internal discussions at Pitt about the possibility of joining the B10, and during the course of the telephone game these blew up into something more substantial. Still interesting speculation.

Comment by Pantherman13 02.01.10 @ 9:38 am

I don’t know who or what newsradio 620 is in Milwaukee, Wis. On their webpage–the following appears:
Report: Big Ten To Get 12th Member

According to a Fox Sports talk show host’s report, the University of Pittsburgh will join the University of Wisconsin as a member of the Big Ten, allowing the conference to hold a football title game

Comment by Pittpantherforlife 02.01.10 @ 9:59 am

All for joining the Big 10 here!

Comment by Dan 72 02.01.10 @ 10:46 am

Hopefully, if these rumors are true, it is only the first domino to fall in a much bigger, Big Ten. Pitt going in as the 11th team is PROBABLY better for both Pitt and the Big Ten, but it isn’t a no brainer and certainly not a game changer for either side.

The most compelling reason to make the change would be as part of a bigger, Big Ten expansion plan to include 14 or 16 teams. That WOULD be a game changer and Pitt certainly would not want to be left behind if that happened.

Check out this article. Pretty interesting.

link to rivalryesq.com

Comment by Boubacar Aw 02.01.10 @ 11:35 am

[...] and that KC Star blog post  that wrote: Speculation is heating up all over the Internet that Pitt has accepted an offer to join the Big [...]


i would only accept a move to the lil 10 if they added 5 teams- uconn, pitt, cuse, wvu and rutgers…
nothing else is acceptable.

Let usf, ville, cincy moved back to conf usa and play the wac for automatic bid to bsc

Comment by cdmoore25 02.01.10 @ 6:29 pm

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Pitt Panthers Buzz, Chas Rich. Chas Rich said: So… What have you heard regarding Big somewhere in the midwest expansion? link to bit.ly [...]


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